David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Never SWOT The Dog

September 24, 2018

Yesterday, one of my dogs escaped from his collar and the yard, leaving us no idea of where he went.

Today, I sat through a strategic planning brainstorming session.

It's amazing how much the events from yesterday (spilling into today) inform the mentality toward the strategic planning.

First off, you really have to know Grizzly (he's the dog, not anyone associated with the strategic plan). He is half terrier/half schnauzer, desperate for love, equally desperate to show he won't back down to anything or anybody (especially in the animal world).

Grizzly was put out on his chain, because we can't trust him not to jump over a decent-sized fence in pursuit of a cat, a squirrel, a flower petal.  The chain provides him just enough length to reach the fence in several places, but not be able to scale it. It's important that he be able to see his surroundings, but not be able to affect it beyond our limited range.

At some point, and I hate to admit this, between 15 minutes after being put out or 1 1/2 hours of being put out, I noticed he was being suspiciously quiet. I went out to find his chain at the fence gate, now open, with his collar, unfastened, still attached to it. Grizzly was nowhere to be found.  In fact, my first thought was that he had been dognapped. Dognapped? Who would want to steal a 39 pound irritating mutt?  Cruella DeBillitated?

So we started searching.  My wife and I hopped in the car and drove three different directions he could have headed. We saw or heard nothing resembling the mutt.  We drove home, and I decided to walk the neighborhood, since it would allow me more opportunity to really explore the surroundings. My neighbor heard what I was doing and started searching for Grizzly via her golf cart. Still nothing. I walked through the woods, risking poison ivy, behind our house because that is always where the cat or the raccoon gets his attention. I got home and told the wife to call the police and the animal shelter (although this was Sunday night after 7:00 at this time and was unlikely to even get an answering machine), while I took to Facebook to alert my friends, especially those in my area, to be on the lookout.

In rapid succession, those much more social media-savvy than me upped my game:

  • "Dave, share your post publicly so that I can share it."  Done.
  • "Share it to media for lost and found pets."  Done.  Quickly posted to Fido Finder, although I was hesitant to give credit card information to pay the $5 that would allow me to post Grizz's picture. Everyone needs to make money, apparently.
  • "Share it to FB pages devoted to lost and found pets by surrounding counties." Done, first for Elkhart County in Indiana just across the border, then for my own counties of Cass and Berrien.
  • "Share it to the Nextdoor app." Signed up for Nextdoor. Got it posted.
  • "Share it to FB pages for counties farther away."

By this point, I was getting very tired, realized I always had to wait for administrator approvals at these FB pages anyway, and sat out front, listening for anything that might sound like my dog's pathetic bark.  My wife tried to comfort me with "loose dogs always come home, stop worrying." Nevertheless I did, because loose dogs get hit by cars (especially stupid ones, the dog not the car, like mine), or get picked up by evil a&&holes (there was a full moon last night) who do horrible things to them, or get picked up by people who want to keep the dog for themselves, or they get picked up by people who take them to local pounds, or they get picked up by dogcatchers who take them to local pounds, while marking their quotas on bedposts.

Finally, I decided I needed to go to bed. Only one scenario out of about six had Grizzly coming home, so the odds told me to wait until the next day.  He had been microchipped so eventually modern technology would GPS (Global Puppy System?) to my house. And as I was drifting to sleep around 11:00 pm, I got the call.  The social media blitz had clearly worked.

Some woman confirmed that he was at the pound. They had been walking their dog, Grizzly had gotten loose, bit the dog, maybe bit a human (the connection was poor, it might have been her father, it might have been her, it might have been LaToya Jackson for all I could discern), ambulances, police and dogcatchers were all called.  And somehow this seemed all to have happened within a block of my house, right outside our windows.

All I could think as I fell asleep was, "wow, Grizzly is o.k. but I am a lousy dog owner and neighbor."

So today my wife bailed out Grizzly (now called Shithead for the immediate future) out of doggy jail.  $25 is a pretty reasonable bail.  The woman confirms that her bite isn't that bad, and nothing was done for it, outside of an antibiotic prescribed, while this other dog got stitches.  We will pay the medical bills and all is relatively calm . . .  although a police follow-up apparently looms on the horizon.

So how does all of this inform the strategic planning, you ask?  I know what you're thinking: "He's going to cite any or all of the following:"

  • Employees are like dogs, given just enough chain to see their surroundings, but not enough to impact them.
  • Human beings are motivated by equal parts the need to be loved and the need to be respected.
  • We are all vicious little shits.
  • Social media is the most powerful force in the world.
  • When things get really tough, we can count on people.
  • Management can be completely oblivious to what is happening right outside their (office) window.

But none of these are it.  The truth is much simpler: all the planning in the world don't mean crap if collar isn't on right. 

And, yes, I have a poison ivy rash.  Thanks, Shithead!